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Featured Technical Engines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. I have bought a few basket engines, but never took the opportunity to buy a crate engine. I have purchased a couple of engines individually, but most of the time, I bought the complete car so I had the extra pieces that always seemed to be needed for a swap.
    I like doing my own work, so doing a teardown and rebuild was always part of the fun for me. I still have some engines, but now that I am ancient, (coming up on 76), I am just going to stay with what I have and am not planning to start any new projects.
  2. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 569


    Haven' built a lot of engines but the ones I did do......turned out great! They were all junkyard engines not crates.
    IF you have the space to do it....building it is half the fun of do'in it. Pick your own parts.....the research on what big a crank.....which heads for a given $$$ amount.....I count ALL that as FUN!
    "Crate motors are like taking a shower with a raincoat on" get wet but..not much of an adventure.
  3. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 17,243

    from Michigan

    They say the same thing about rubbers....:confused::(:rolleyes:
  4. Never bought s crate engine. ive did very few rebuilds on my own engines. mostly rings bearings on a good running but oil burning engine. parts cost about $100 for rings all the bearings, gaskets timing set and oil pump. most of the time they give good service. I have installed new sleeves (liners) in both gas & diesel tractors & equiptment.The machine shops here want over $400 to rebore a chevy block. I did find a guy that does it for $12 a cyl. He has two in my blocks and the pistons now. one is a 396 I want punched .030 to a stock 402. the other a small journal 327 need bored to accept .030 TRW domed pistons. I will assemble them myself.
  5. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,040

    from Berry, AL

    I only buy used engines, most of the time still in a vehicle. That way, I can at least run them, possibly even drive them down the road to check them out. Getting harder to find a V8 car that has been wrecked or roached out, scrap guys buy them and they go to the crusher. I’ve built some of them, some I just put in and changed a few things and ran them. Never had the dough for a new engine, always had to go cheap.
  6. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 806

    lumpy 63

    I have installed lots of crate engines for people working on a budget . I cant build a decent engine for myself for what a crate engine cost's. By the time I buy all the forged bottom end part's and decent heads + machine work , The cost is more than the crate engine....But it will run circles around any crate engine:D
    Hombre, Fingers, 3W JOHN and 3 others like this.
  7. das858
    Joined: Jul 28, 2010
    Posts: 623


    Like alot of others I've never bought a crate engine , always thought i could build my own better and cheaper. I' ve also bought a number of used engines and had very good luck with them too .
    3W JOHN, Deuces and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  8. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 816


    I try to do as much work on my cars as I can, so building a motor is just part of it. I've got one on the stand now that needs a little paint and the transmission rebuilt so it can go in the Stude, I'll tell you after I fire the motor if I should have bought a crate motor. I hope this engine rebuild is better than the last fiasco I had with the motor in the 38:)
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  9. I always built my own motors, but farmed out the machine work. It used to be those little back yard speed shops were the best. Now it's getting hard to find a decent machine shop.
  10. 03GMCSonoma
    Joined: Jan 15, 2011
    Posts: 177


    Southcross, welcome home. Bob - Bien Hoa 1970
  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,004


    Well both my flathead and the Desoto 330 in the shed will cost far more to rebuild right than a crate motor from the The Chev Garage my buddy's son in law is parts manager at. .
    I'd say it comes down to what it is going in and what you are going to do with it. It might be more productive and cost effective to put a crate motor in the daily driver/tow rig than go clear through the engine that is in it if you have to pay full bore for machine work. On the other hand certain vintage engines are worth the effort and cost to do them up right.
  12. I have always built my own but had someone else do the machine work for a few reasons...
    One is that I thought I could do them cheaper which isn't always the case. Another is that at least I know what is in them and if anyone is to blame it is me. A third reason is that like others have mentioned, many of mine aren't SBC's so crate engines aren't as readily available. And, I think I just enjoy building them actually which is why I am in the process of building two now even thought they are just SBC's.
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  13. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,047

    from Central IL

    I build my own.
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  14. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,570


    I like to build my own. But, when the 305 in my OT truck gave up the ghost, I bought a crate 350 from Summit for $1,600 delivered. There was no way I could build a new engine for that and it's been great. I have had crate 350 HO's in 2 other cars and they have been great. I built the 360 Mopar in my Plymouth and I will build the 455 BB in my Buick because I can and because I like to. If I were building a new car with a SBC, I would have to give crate engine strong consideration. Hard to beat the it's getting hard to find good machine work around here, especially balancing.
  15. I never bought one either. Aren't they only available for belly button Chevys and Fords? The last two engines I bought were a 348 Chevy and a 330 DeSoto, no crate available for those.
    31hotrodguy, 3W JOHN, Hombre and 2 others like this.
  16. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,050


    I tend to like odd ball engines most are hard to find parts for much less crate engines. Most crate engine are price point so stock builds. I very seldom build one stock.
  17. firstinsteele
    Joined: Jun 13, 2013
    Posts: 958



    Build my own. Sometimes twice, but that is another story.

    Montana1, LAROKE, 32SEDAN and 3 others like this.
  18. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,294


    In 2000, I bought one rebuilt long block 350 sbc from a chain parts store, but ended up with three engines before I was done.
    The first one ran like a scalded cat but smoked like a factory. I was burning a quart of oil every 50 miles. I went back to store and was told the rings hadn't seated yet, to drive it more. 750 miles and 15 quarts of oil later, they had a local mechanic tear it down to see what was up. Turns out the rebuilder left the oil rings off pistons 4, 6 & 8.
    The second engine had a loud knock on start-up. They had me take it to another mechanic. He asked me to start it up and when he heard the knock, he said "shut it off." Then he said, "When you said 'knock' I was expecting lifter clatter, but that is a knock." He discovered a bad wrist pin on #6 piston, so I got my 3rd rebuilt long block under warranty.
    That engine has been in my Nomad for 19 years this month, runs great, no problems.

    The lesson I learned, since all three engines came from the same rebuilder, is that getting a rebuilt engine is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get.

    Before that (and since) I rebuilt my own.
    firstinsteele, 3W JOHN, F-ONE and 3 others like this.
  19. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,050


    I bet they didn't pay for your labor ether. I reworked a set of 461 heads that came off a long block that had the wrong valve seats installed the exhaust valve stems were 3/16 " to low
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  20. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,769

    from Alabama

  21. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,421


    Have never bought a crate motor. Installed a few for friends and they ran ok-two ZZ4's were NG and were replaced under warranty. Another was the 290HP version-runs good but kinda doggy, I only use small journal 327's-have machine work done and assemble.
  22. buffaloracer
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 764

    from kansas

    I build my own. That's what makes it mine.
    P&B's signature line is correct.
  23. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 188

    from Brooks Ky

    There isn't one right answer. Its really nice to build your own engine and feel the sense of pride that you get when it fires up. It's great....most of the time. If possible, everyone should try to get the opportunity to assemble or at least help someone assemble an engine. Its a great experience and can help you immeasurably later in your hobby life.
    That being said, its often financially better to buy a crate engine, because you get a solid starting platform and a warranty. But all "crate" engines are not the same. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on where you buy and what you buy. Personally I'm in the process of building three projects....though one is on the back burner.
    One has a crate LS3/480 with a tremec 5 speed. Another has a 2008 LY6 with about 32K miles that I got from a junkyard. The third will probably be a homebuilt version of an LS7. I have most all the parts to do it. Even had a box of new Titanium rods. Decided that they weren't the best option and sold them. Had 2 sets of stock LS7 factory pistons and rings that were removed from new crate engines with no miles. Dirt cheap because no one was looking for those items at the time I bought them. Sold them too, as they had an odd size wristpin and weight variation. So I'll buy aftermarket pistons and rods that are stronger.
    Little story on buying used engines. Look around at where ever you go to purchase an engine and notice how organized the place is. Its a great hint as to what to expect from your purchase. Before I bought the LY6, I went to a local junkyard on the recommendation of a friend and asked for someone he knew. The guy had a van with an LS engine in it but told me he didn't know the mileage. Electronic dash so no obvious reading. I had to wait while he called another employee come in and take me to the vehicle. That employee had not heard him tell me he didn't know the mileage. As we looked at the engine I mentioned that I wished he knew the mileage. He said, "Oh its right here on this printout" that the liar had given to him. As we walked back to the building I spied an Escalade with an LS engine, but couldn't tell the mileage on it either. When we got back to the office, I inquired about that engines mileage and the liar again told me the dash was inoperative and couldn't tell me the miles. Another lie as there was not anything apparently wrong with the dash. The junkyard was a total dump....which I don't mind cause I always loved browsing junk yards. Then I found the LY6 at a junkyard about 150 miles away. Drove up there. Well organized place, really clean. Believed them that the engine was reasonably low mileage as they were also very courteous and well organized. Removed the trans pan at home and tranny was beautiful inside.
    So the thing is that engine selection can be a good or a bad experience depending on whether you buy with your head or your heart. Many bargains are ultimately more expensive than the higher priced alternatives.
    scott27, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  24. I salt away core engines, ones I have used or at least have heard them run. Those I take apart, assess and ship them off to the builder. That way I KNOW what is in it. Some of these crate jobs, you'd never know exactly goes into it unless you are Squirrel and take it apart.
  25. I could have spent $3800 with Speedway for a 430 HP SBC, but I had to change the oil pan anyway.. so I built it myself. HP is about the same, peace of mind is priceless. I don't have to hassle with a warranty if something goes sideways and I trust myself and the builder I use. I probably have close to $5000 in my engine and it goes like a scalded dog.
  26. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 315

    3W JOHN

    You can buy a crate engine cheaper than you can have the machine shop work and buy the parts.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    little red 50 and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  27. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 17,243

    from Michigan

    Ummmm...... What the hell is an LY6?????
    And this LS7 you brought up,... Is this motor based off an ls motor?????
    OLSKOOL57, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  28. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,547

    from Iowa

    Never a crate engine. Never have, never will. They are killing racing, I won't support that either.

    Build my own. I have bought engines rebuilt by others but I trusted their work, knew the shops involved and people involved. Even then it was a basic long block, otherwise I do it.

    Have friends that do the machining, buy only the parts I want in my engines. Never bought one size fits all pants, won't do it for my engines.

    bobss396, Deuces and 3W JOHN like this.
  29. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 9,285

    from Missouri

    I thought the LS7 was a over the counter big brother to the LS6 454
    31hotrodguy, Deuces and 3W JOHN like this.
  30. Crate engines work great in fiberglass street rods.

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